Usher among U.S. artists visiting Cuba

Tue Apr 19, 2016 9:12am EDT
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HAVANA, Cuba - - A U.S. delegation of cultural leaders and artists, including Usher and Kal Penn, arrived in Havana, Cuba on Monday (April 18), as part of a four-day artistic exchange.

The 33-person cultural delegation visited Cuba's famous University of the Arts, where musicians performed a concert with classical music and folkloric dance performances. 

Kal Penn, best known as the character Dr. Lawrence Kutner on the television series House, said he hopes to establish relationships that will fuel continued creative projects. "Our hope is that we´ll not just have the chance to be here these four days but come back regularly, and work with some of our Cuban counterparts and maybe make some movies together, make some art together, I think that will be great," he said. 

The tour comes on the heels of U.S. President Barack Obama's historic trip to Cuba last month, the first by a U.S. president in 88 years. Although the two countries lie just 90 miles (145 kilometers) from each other, most Americans have never visited the nation because of the Cold War-era embargo.

The artists will be in Cuba through Thursday (April 21) and plan to hold meetings with Cuban government officials and directors of cultural institutions to identify further opportunities for artistic cooperation. 

Singer Usher performs "Lady (You Bring Me Up)" at the 2016 MusiCares Person of the Year gala in Los Angeles, California February 13, 2016.  REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni